In July 2006 I launched my first book, The Mastery Club, in the wake of - and setting off - an absolute explosion of little miracles. For one thing, world inspirational speaker and author Dr John Demartini happened to agree to read my manuscript and in response, wrote my Foreword. For another, enough business people and individuals came forward to purchase copies of the book that our printing bill was covered. For another, I sold out in five months, went to a second print run and sold that out in six months, and then went to a third print run, all inside 12 months. For an unknown author with virtually no publicity and no big money backers, that was pretty awesome.
And then my little Mastery Club project hit a few snags and things started to slow down. The website needed to be updated and there were a series of delays and mishaps, including being offline and unable to process orders just when I was guest speaker on an international telecall. The publicist I had hired, who was absolutely convinced that she would have me on national TV inside of a couple of weeks, didn’t turn up a single media opportunity in ten months. Sales were slowing down.
the people around me who loved my book were looking to me to be a
master and produce more miracles. I began to feel stressed and make
justifications to myself: “I’m a writer, not a master!” But at the same
time, I wanted to live up to their expectations. I wanted to embody the
mastery that had inspired me. I wanted to get results. Quickly.
In the months following my book launch I had begun receiving invitations to speak at networking events and other functions. As I shared my story of going from a stuck life to living my dreams, I began to hear a nagging little background voice saying, “Oh yeah? What about now? That was last year. Now you’re in the poo.”
I mean, really. I was getting parking fines and I’d backed into someone’s car while reversing out of my driveway; I couldn’t get through to someone I needed to speak to, I was overspending, I felt I’d made a critically bad business decision, and our phone system seemed to be beset with problems (people not able to hear me or voices sounding robotic)…
I started to flap around, bringing up my defences to keep people at a distance. Didn’t wanting anyone watching me too closely. Started getting busy doing other things. I didn’t really want to be an international best-selling author, did I? What an inconvenience that would be! I’d rather just get on with my little ole life…
But, as Caroline Myss says, once you’re calibrated to a certain level of truth, you can’t go back. So the desire to master my circumstances kept whispering in my ear. After all, the words emblazoned on the cover of my book were “See the invisible, hear the silent, do the impossible!” If I wanted to create magic, I had to hold the vision no matter what the external circumstances looked like. If I wanted my book to succeed, I had to walk my talk.
So I threw myself back into my inspirational reading – The Master Key System, As A Man Thinketh, Your Invisible Power, Working with the Law… I got focused again on my visualising and affirming. I Got Serious.
And sales still limped along.
Friends who loved The Secret urged me to watch it again and root out my negative limiting beliefs. Others, who worked energetically, suggested that I do this or that process to clear my energy. Someone in my inner circle emailed me saying: “The other thing is, use The Mastery Club principles. Wouldn’t that be awesome - using The Mastery Club principles to make The Mastery Club go off?”
You could say that I saw red. I felt offended. Well, what do you think I’m doing?!! Did the writer of that email think he was presenting me with an original idea? How outrageous!!
And I felt inadequate. Why wasn’t I getting results? What was the matter with me? Was I just going to disappear – ‘remember that author who wrote about mastery and couldn’t do it?’
Fortunately outrage is a motivating energy and feelings of inadequacy send one ‘inside’ to reflect and wonder and ask for help. And help came. It came in the form of friends and consultants who reminded me of some very grounding truths.
I realised that I was being asked to step away from pretences of instant-total-mastery and anchor myself in the humble truth. The humble truth is that mastery is a journey, an apprenticeship. It’s not a get-rich-quick-pill-magic-formula-snake-oil-charm.
It used to be that universal laws like those taught in The Secret were only made available to people who deliberately joined mystery schools or secret societies or religious orders. This information was not for the common man. Achieving mastery became the work of a lifetime, not a Sunday afternoon treasure mapping session plus three visualisations and a week’s worth of affirmations. If you want to play with the nature of reality, you don’t do it overnight.
Yet it seems to me that many people who watch The Secret seem to think that mastery is something that can be achieved instantly – ‘just add water’. Sit and visualise for five minutes every day for a week, say a few affirmations every day, and voila! Dreams will come true. Magic.
It struck me that that’s a kind of spiritual immaturity. And, in saying so, I feel a little like the boy who observed that the emperor was wearing no clothes. That child spoke out about what was real rather than the fantasy everyone was playing along with. For me, this realization was almost a shock, because I’d been drifting into the fantasy too.
One of the laws that my mother drilled into me as a child was expressed in these six words: “Everything comes by right of consciousness”. We have to raise our consciousness and that is not an ‘add water’ process. You can’t microwave your consciousness. It doesn’t respond to remote-control-button-pushing. You have to chop the wood and carry the water. You have to do the do of it.
I’ve always said that goal-setting isn’t about what you’re going after; it’s about who you become along the way. I wrote an article on that exact topic in one of my Mastery Club newsletters. Funny how we have our own answers but don’t always pay attention. I think we sometimes glide over the top of those neat little answers thinking, Yes, I know what that means. Yep, I agree. But sometimes we have to stop ourselves in our tracks and take a good hard look and actually register what it means.
It’s about who you become along the way. That’s a lovely phrase, but what does it mean in practice?!
Well, what I get is that it means we are going to have to deal with our limitations. Which means we are going to make mistakes. We are going to experience delays and unpleasant surprises. We are going to be ill. We are going to forget to do things. We are going to give in to weakness. We are going to experience unpleasant emotions and disagreement.
Why? Because that’s the road to mastery. (If there is such a destination.)
We are being given the opportunity to be patient when we want to snap, to trust when the appearance of something is alarming, to be courageous and persistent when we would like to give up, to listen to the real message of our anger and irritation, to rest and honour our physical and emotional bodies, to keep rebalancing our lives so that everything that is important to us is given time.
In Practical Kabbalah – A Guide to Jewish Wisdom for Everyday Life, Rabbi Laibl Wolf says, “Hassidism teaches us that two basic guidelines affect our course in life. The first lies in our gifts - the special qualities that distinguish each of us from the other. The second is the constellation of events around us, over which we have no control. The Ba’al Shem Tov, the founder of Hassidism, teaches us that these are divinely ordained to provide us with the optimal stage upon which to express our life’s role. But we fight these events. We seek to control them through our limited wisdom, although we may in fact be doing ourselves a grave disservice.”
In other words, would you choose illness or divorce or a car accident or retrenchment? Probably not. And yet many people look back on those difficult experiences and recognize the gifts they came to offer.
So we choose the experiences that inspire us, and G.O.D./the universe/Great Spirit/your Higher Self/whatever you want to call it steps in to provide the surprises that will cause us to grow. As Dr John Demartini states over and over in The Breakthrough Experience – A Revolutionary New Approach to Personal Transformation, Love is support and challenge, not just support. The support nourishes us and the challenges nudge us to grow.
Rabbi Wolf goes on to say that “By fighting our seeming adversities, the Cosmic process of rebalancing invariably results in the rise of even more pressing circumstances that are in truth a corrective mechanism of the Creator”. In other words, what you resist, persists. The sooner we surrender and look deeply into the challenge, the sooner it gives way to its gift.
So is mastery about being in total control of your life? Of snapping your fingers when you want something? Of only having things happen to you that you want? Suppose you’ve made a treasure map and set goals and visualised, and then a whole lot of stuff happens that seems to upset everything you wanted to do and your dreams are as far away as ever, does that mean you are a failure as a master?
Not at all. Sometimes stuff happens that we can’t predict or wouldn’t choose, but it’s all for our good. It’s grist for the mill. It’s helping us get there. (And where, by the way, is ‘there’? I believe it’s a greater expression of our divine nature – our power, our joy, our love, our creativity, our wisdom… not necessarily into the mansion with the fountain on the front lawn.) We can all experience manifesting breakthroughs from time to time, but total control will never be possible simply because it’s not a good idea. We might grow faster and more truly without the fountain…
Naturally I would like my book to shoot to Harry Potter stardom in a twinkling, but I don't hold the big picture; G.O.D. does. The creation of The Mastery Club occurred over a period of some eight years, from first idea to finished manuscript, even though the writing actually only took about six months once I was in my flow. Why did I dither along the way so much? I don’t know, but the timing of its completion and launch was exquisite.
Some naturopaths once told me that if you eat junk and get sick, you’re experiencing a reaction to the junk, but if you eat cleansing whole foods and get sick, you're experiencing a healing crisis. Likewise it seems to me that I'm going through a healing crisis of my consciousness at the moment, and you can't rush that any more than you can rush physical cleansing.
So… since it’s not about having total
control, the important question becomes: how do we deal with the
process, the ‘failures’, the delays, the ‘bad’ stuff?
The answer is simple: by remembering that it’s an apprenticeship. If you were aiming to be an Olympic athlete would you expect to achieve that goal after one sporting event? And what if you came seventh instead of first? Does that mean it’s time to give up your dreams?
Becoming a master of your life is an apprenticeship. Just as with sporting goals, there will be ‘failures’ along the way and you need to go into training to build muscle and fitness. Only the journey of personal mastery is about mental muscle and attitude fitness. A serious level of mastery requires a serious (life long) commitment.
Our task is to find the gifts, learn the lessons, take all the little steps, remind ourselves that the way to eat an elephant is one bite at a time; to not discourage ourselves by comparing with others who seem to have it all together. (Just look a little more closely and you’ll probably find some area of their life that isn’t so perfect.)
And remember to go looking for what you ARE doing well RIGHT NOW. (I’m telling myself as much as you.) Acknowledge the successes, however small. Celebrate the accomplishments. Little things, like stopping to smell a rose instead of rushing past, or saying no to that extra helping or to the person who is pushing your boundaries, are all signs of growth. We need to recognize them.
When I now think of those people who I felt were expecting me to produce magic, I can say: I am! I am making a difference already. When I sit at my computer and read the emails being sent to me from readers of all ages, I am moved to the depths of my heart. Those readers are grateful to me for insights and inspiration. They are making changes in their lives. Who knows what they will be moved to do as a result?
My book might still be in the crawling stage, but all fast runners crawled first. The opportunity for mastery comes from holding one’s vision in spirit and persisting with the process through matter. If we truly love our dream, the delays won’t matter. As Dr Demartini says, a master sees the blessings in difficulties and the warnings in wonderful experiences. There’s no such thing as instant mastery. We might experience manifesting breakthroughs and magic from time to time but a serious level of mastery requires serious commitment.
The trap is becoming attached to our (self-centered, limited view) time frames, and the antidote for that is to remember that most of the 'overnight successes' we hear about actually worked through the ups and downs of their process 'invisibly' for quite a while first. Besides, suppose we could tick off every goal just as soon as it was set, what would be the drawback? Arrogance? Boredom?
Someone once said to me, ‘a
master has infinite patience’. If it’s good, it’s worth waiting for.
Now, Liliane Grace, remember it!!!
Liliane Grace is a freelance writer and speaker, and author of The Mastery Club – See the Invisible, Hear the Silent, Do the Impossible, a novel for adolescents about universal laws and personal development strategies. She is also the author of The Champion Series, a new set of picture books for children about modern day leaders who persisted with childhood dreams and goals. The first two books in the series are The Boy Who Barked, about the inspiring author, speaker and philosopher, Dr John Demartini, and The Boy Who Found His Pulse, about the extraordinary health and education revolutionary, Don Tolman.
This article is copyright. To publish it please contact Liliane Grace (details above) for permission.